Relief was the biggest emotion I felt the day I left Caqalai Island. As I clambered into the boat to take me onto the next leg of my journey I had several options of what to do next but no firm plans.
Do I leave Fiji altogether go straight to Nadi catch a flight to Australia and city hop seeing friends?
Do I travel as my itinerary is currently set out and then do the Dive Master Training (DMT) later in the year somewhere cheaper – in Asia for example?
Or hang out in Suva and wait to hear back from the Cousteau Dive resort guys on Vanua Levu Island?
Moments before my next boat arrived to whisk me over to the mainland on Wednesday I got a FaceTime call. What followed next filled me with sheer excitement and joy and meant I changed my plans at the drop of a hat.
The dive team at Cousteau confirmed they’d like to train me and gave me a wonderfully affordable quote for the dive master and suggested I come over for a few days. On offer was diving, meeting the team, being able to check out where I’d be working and trained and also where my new home would be. “Why the hell not,” I thought. “I don’t have to be anywhere right now.”
So I headed into Suva and bought a ferry ticket and the next day caught an early morning taxi to the jetty. The boat then took four hours and the bus journey the other side also took three hours. In 24 hours I was on a different island with a slower pace and being shown around a stunningly beautiful resort in SavuSavu by my new instructor – a cheeky Aussie. We’ll call him The Drummer, because of the drum kit he has in his house and his love of music.
It’s been brilliant getting to know The Drummer and his team, they are all Fijian and very competent and experienced divers with bags of enthusiasm. I did four dives in two days. The visibility it better on Vanua Levu and one site, Purple Garden, blew me away. The size and sheer number of fish was insane. The coral gardens are gorgeous. I’ve seen a turtle, a white tip shark, several enormous Humpheaded Wrasses (my favourite) and went in search of Hammerhead sharks. Sadly that dive didn’t reveal any schools of sharks but I’ve no doubt there’ll be ample opportunity to try it again in the next few months.
I will be working out of the dive centre. Staff don’t use the resorts’ facilities as it is exclusive and rightly so at the price the guests pay. But if I want, I can eat there as a treat. The general manager (Mr Kava) is another lovely Australian and a super easy going guy has arranged it. My new work place is just under 2km walk along the seafront. On route you meet a number of friendly dogs who provide a “motorcade” as you dodge the oncoming traffic. My body clock is wired now for getting up at 6am daily and I have used The Drummer’s decking to practise yoga before breakfast staring out at the ocean. It’s the perfect way to start the day. He also has a lovely dog – Cuba – she is a beaut – and is quite a runner.
I spent three glorious days in SavuSavu and I feel like my energy levels and happiness have been reset and I am ready to tackle my next chapter. Perhaps this was always meant to happen and this is the reason my time with Global Vision International (GVI) didn’t work out.
I’ve slept well, ate well, got drunk on Patron tequila, was taken to the Yatch Club were I met some real weathered characters and I’ve been invited out to dinner at The Four Seasons in Sydney when I land by a guest I spent an afternoon talking British politics to.
The journey back to Suva today has been slow, way to slow even for “Fiji Time” – 14 hours and I am exhausted. Everything was delayed, both buses and the ferry. I’ve eaten a tin of peanuts and a tin of fish in that time. Sadly not together otherwise it would have been satay (The drummer’s joke)….now I’m having a glass of wine before I hit the sack and get on another bus tomorrow for Nadi and a flight to Australia. Nah yeah, yeah nah as the Aussies say.
See you in a month Fiji!!